Nowhere Boy (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Nowhere Boy (2010)



Critic Consensus: Don't expect any musical insights, but this look at John Lennon's early life benefits from its restrained, low-key approach and some fine acting from Aaron Johnson.

Movie Info

John Lennon's childhood. Liverpool 1955: a smart and troubled 15-year-old is hungry for experience. In a family full of secrets, two incredible women clash over John: Mimi, the buttoned-up aunt who raised him, and Julia, the prodigal mother. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into the new and exciting world of rock 'n' roll where his fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the teenage Paul McCartney. Just as John begins his new life, tragedy strikes. But, a resilient young man finds his voice -- and an icon explodes into the world.more
Rating: R (for language and a scene of sexuality)
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Matt Greenhalgh
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 25, 2011
Box Office: $1.4M
Weinstein Company - Official Site


Thomas Sangster
as Paul McCartney
Anne-Marie Duff
as Julia Lennon
David Morrissey
as Bobby Dykins
David Threlfall
as Uncle George
Sam Bell
as George
Kerrie Hayes
as Marie's Friend
Richard Syms
as Reverend
Alex Ambrose
as Young John
Angelica Jopling
as Julie (age 8)
Abby Greenhalgh
as Jackie (age 6)
Richard Tate
as Teacher
Andrew Buchan
as Fishwick
Chris Coghill
as Cunard Yank
Ben Smith
as Boy With Knife
Simon Lowe
as Guitar Shop Guy
Nigel Travis
as Cavern Bouncer
Lizzie Hopley
as Café Waitress
Dan Armour
as Percy Phillips
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Nowhere Boy

Critic Reviews for Nowhere Boy

All Critics (138) | Top Critics (32)

Taylor-Wood has specialized in video installations and off-kilter portraits, and it was tempting to hope that her take on Lennon would unsettle and provoke. Instead, she stays resolutely on-kilter, as if awed into numbness by her subject.

Full Review… | October 19, 2010
New Yorker
Top Critic

Fascinating...fills in a lot of blank spaces in the Beatles history we already knew.

Full Review… | January 31, 2013
Movie Nation

It might not have what Beatles fans are expecting from a film about the young John Lennon, but it remains an interesting portrait of the early days of the future legend and is worth seeking out.

Full Review… | September 22, 2012

The content is there but the form is a Xerox copy of every celebrity coming-of-age tale you've heard and seen before.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

A passable drama, and might make a nice double feature with Backbeat.

Full Review… | February 9, 2011
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Nowhere Boy succeeds because its creators never wallow in sanctimony, keep contrivances to a minimum and has a lead actor who evolves his character rather than imitates.

Full Review… | January 27, 2011

Audience Reviews for Nowhere Boy

An authentic and moving drama that takes a look at the life of a pre-Beatles 15-year-old John Lennon and mainly benefits from its sensitive narrative approach and remarkable performance by Aaron Johnson, who impresses us even if he looks nothing like the real John.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Young John Lennon is torn between his mercurial biological mother and his stuffy aunt.
The only thing I learned from this film is that John Lennon was once a real prick. The movie goes to great lengths to convince us that his upbringing produced his frustration, but Lennon's reactions to his troubled circumstances seem over-the-top, and we're not given many reasons to find him interesting. The plot languishes in exposition, and the final reveals about Julia's history don't surprise any discerning audience.
Kristin Scott Thomas can do anything, and she gives a fantastic performance, but Aaron Johnson plays youthful angst with all the brattiness of a misbehaving kid at Wal Mart.
I suppose that a more traditional biopic, with an older Lennon reminiscing on the travails of his life, might have been more compelling, and perhaps Beatles fans fill in this "front-story," but I judge a film based more on what is on the screen rather than context.
Overall, there is nothing new about this story for most people, but perhaps a cadre of Beatles fans will find Lennon's history interesting.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Good performance by Aaron Johnson - capturing the Lennon spirit without really looking like him at all - and, (of course), a great one from Kristin Scott Thomas, but otherwise, the film's rather dull. It's almost too thorough, and it comes out more precious and hero-worshipping than it does hard-hitting. Lennon's boyhood doesn't seem so tough, frankly, and unlike a lot of great musician biopics, we don't see the life channel into the music; we come to understand more about the man, but not much more about his art. The result? A fairly boring letdown.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Nowhere Boy Quotes

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